Walking with Ghosts—A Memoir: Gabriel Byrne

“How many times have I returned in my dreams to this hill. It is always summer as I look out over the gold and green fields, ditches foaming with hawthorn and lilac, river glinting under the sun like a blade. When I was young, I found sanctuary here and the memory of it deep in …

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Feminine Ingenuity—How Women Inventors Changed America: Anne L. Macdonald

“Although women have invented since the beginning of time, it seems as if full recognition of their role has been painfully slow.” When you think of inventors, who do you think of? Usually it is men like Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and Giovanni Marconi. Seeing that women make up nearly half of the world’s …

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The Powerful and the Damned—Private Diaries in Turbulent Times: Lionel Barber

From 2005 to 2020, Lionel Barber had what he called “the best job in the world”: editor of the London Financial Times. This is Barber’s account of those years and his close encounters with the great and the not-so-great (or good!). As editor of a major newspaper, Barber meets the people who make the news: …

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The Good Girls: Sonia Faleiro

Sonia Faleiro’s new book, The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing, investigates the death of two young girls in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. The book offers Faleiro, an accomplished journalist, an opportunity to spend four years following up on a hot-button news story. It lets her, and her readers, to look beyond the lurid headlines and to shatter …

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Of Water and the Spirit—Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman: Malidoma Patrice Somé

“The story I am going to tell comes from a place deep inside of myself, a place that perceives all that I have irremediably lost and, perhaps, what gain there is behind the loss. If people forget their past as a way to survive, other people remember it for the same reason. When cultures with …

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The Anarchy: William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire is a chronicle of greed, ambition, and the machinations that put a vast geographical territory under the East India Company (EIC). The book’s epigraph offers a succinct summary of the book’s central theme: “Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor …

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The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from A Secret World: Peter Wohlleben

Translated from German by Jane Billinghurst One day, Peter Wohlleben, a forester, stumbles across what he thinks are mossy stones but turn out to be old wood. But not just old wood, which would normally decompose, but the roots of a tree that no longer existed, that had probably been felled 400 years ago. He …

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Small Memories—A Memoir: José Saramago

Translated from Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa José Saramago was born in 1922 in Azinhaga, a village in Portugal. The village has a charter that dates back to the thirteenth century, “but nothing remains of that glorious ancient history except the river that passes right by it”. The name comes from the Arabic “as-zinaik” meaning …

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We are Displaced—My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World: Malala Yousafzai (with Liz Welch)

Review by Mohan Raj A longer version of this review was originally published in The Book Review, Vol XLIV, No. 2-3, Feb-Mar 2020.  Reproduced with the permission of The Book Review Literary Trust. Displacement──within and across countries──of large numbers of people, owing to political instability or civil strife, is a fact of contemporary life. UN statistics …

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